Peoria volunteer

Stefanie Ewbank and daughter Selena Rodosta of Peoria volunteer with the Special Olympics.

Raising kids who are philanthropically minded isn’t easy. However, instilling beliefs in teens about giving back to others in the community will help build a more thoughtful, kinder, more considerate group of humans. That’s the goal of the National Charity League (NCL), Arrowhead Chapter. 

Charity work is an integral part of life for mother and daughter Stefanie Ewbank and Selena Rodosta of Peoria. They have been involved with NCL for two years. When they joined, their focus was to spend more intentional time together while being able to serve others. 

“A few years ago, we were volunteering at the Back-to-School Clothing Drive at Grand Canyon University and we saw all these NCL shirts with the tagline ‘Mothers and Daughters Serving Together,’” Ewbank said. 

“That was intriguing to us, so we did a little research about the organization and decided to join. I liked the idea of leadership development because Selena has always been very shy, and I thought NCL would be a great way to help break her out of her shell.

“Selena was excited to not only serve her community but also develop her college resume. We both felt it would be a way for us to continue serving the community while spending quality time together.” 

NCL has many chapters across Arizona providing mothers and daughters opportunities to volunteer with dozens of organizations. The group also helps young ladies become strong, independent leaders who appreciate the value of giving back to those in need. The Arrowhead Chapter of NCL has more than 100 mothers and daughters who are focused on the organization’s three pillars — philanthropy, leadership and culture.

Glendale residents Kelly Song and her daughters, Ariana Marshall, 15, and Madeline Marshall, 13, have also been part of the Arrowhead NCL chapter for two years. 

“There is so much need in our community, and trying to decide where to focus our energy can be overwhelming,” Song said. “NCL provides my girls a focused approach to contributing to the community while also allowing us to share these special moments together. NCL gives us an opportunity to learn about nonprofit organizations we wouldn’t have known existed and also helps my girls build friendships with like-minded people and develop leadership skills.” 

Each year, NCL requires mothers and daughters to volunteer a minimum number of hours in the community. Last year, Stefanie and Selena dedicated a cumulative 97 hours to community service in the Valley, earning them an award in the Arrowhead Chapter for most hours served. 

One of their passion projects was Feed My Starving Children in Mesa. Rodosta celebrated sweet 16 birthday at the charity organization. She invited her entire family to FMSC for an afternoon of service.

“Last year we set a goal to complete 50 hours of service each. While we didn’t quite make that, we are very proud of the work we did, especially with everything going on in the world,” Ewbank said.

“During the pandemic, we had very little control over our circumstances, so Selena and I chose to control what we could and making time to complete service projects was within our control. As we started serving these organizations, we learned many of them were hurting to get volunteers because of COVID. We saw that as a greater opportunity for us to be able to make even more of an impact.” 

Volunteering not only gives Ewbank and Rodosta one-on-one time together, research shows volunteering boosts self-confidence and happiness in teens and teaches social and networking skills. 

“Being a part of National Charity League intentionally disrupts the day-to-day pulls on our schedules by giving us committed time to spend together,” Ewbank added. “NCL gives me the opportunity to model for my daughter the values I believe are important. Joining NCL prioritizes not only time to spend with my daughter but also the values I want her to carry in her heart as she goes into the next season of her life.”

NCL applications are being accepted from women with daughters in sixth to ninth grade. The Arrowhead Chapter members come from across the Valley, including Anthem, Glendale, Peoria and Surprise.  

“When other mothers ask me about joining NCL I tell them, ‘Just do it,’” Song added. “My girls and I love all the friends we have made through this journey while doing great things for our community, and if you have girls in the National Honor Society it’s a great way to earn credit for volunteering in an organized and focus approach. At the end of the day, I wish we had known about NCL sooner, so we could have had even more positive experiences.” 

The annual NCL Membership Drive takes place through Jan. 15. For more information, visit arrowhead.

nationalcharityleague.org or email membershiparrowhead@nclonline.org.